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Nearly 71 per cent of new car buyers expect bigger discounts because of coronavirus

Time 1 year ago

Nearly 71 per cent of new car buyers expect to haggle for a bigger discount because of coronavirus, new data shows.

What Car?’s latest Insight report reveals what’s perceived as a good deal by new car buyers has changed significantly as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

The company says this has the potential to set buyers and retailers on a collision course.


Of 6,100 in-market car buyers, nearly 71 per cent of those looking to buy new expect to haggle for a bigger discount because of the crisis.

For used buyers, that figure falls to 58 per cent, reflecting the surge in demand post-lockdown, and that difficulties in obtaining new stock are hardening prices, says What Car?.

The firm believes, however, it perhaps also underlines that new car buyers can sense greater desperation from manufacturers whose factories were shuttered for so many months.

In the survey, buyers also said that they expect to be in control of any deal, with 73 per cent saying they won’t buy a new car unless they are offered a deal, with a further 18 per cent saying they will either switch brands or change to a different model or size of car in order to secure a discount.


More than a third – 34.7 per cent – said that they are happy to delay their purchase altogether if they don’t feel they are getting a deal that is better than pre-lockdown.

Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive, said: ‘With supply still restricted, and manufacturers and retailers looking to extract maximum value from sales, the conundrum is clear.

‘More than ever, buyers are expecting to drive away with a sense of having achieved a strong deal, and dealers’ ability to convey that feeling as part of the buying journey is going to be a crucial lever in securing sales.’

The What Car? data also revealed another side effect of coronavirus is that more buyers are now considering paying with cash.

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Nearly 10 per cent of the people surveyed said they will buy their next car with ‘cash’, rather than through retailer promoted finance offers.

Prasher added: ‘Whether that is cash-in-hand or via personal loans is unsubstantiated at this point, although it seems likely that the perceived low cost of borrowing money drives some of this thinking – despite research from Moneyfacts.co.uk showing that interest rates on personal loans have actually gone up since the start of the year.

‘Potentially this is also having an impact on buyers’ willingness to spend more on a car purchase; last week 17.6 per cent of those polled were telling us that their vehicle budget has gone up since lockdown.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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